JJ MacNab Profile picture
Aug 17, 2018 18 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Russia Propaganda on Twitter: I'm making my first quick pass at the 2,973,371 tweets from 2,848 handles verified by Twitter to have come from Russia's Internet Research Agency.
I'd like to thank Clemson University professors Darren Linvill @DarrenLinvill and Patrick Warren @plwarre for compiling the data, and @FiveThirtyEight for making it available to people like me. fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-w…
My first pass at the nearly 3 million tweets was to look for those that reference Cliven Bundy and his family by searching for "bundy." I weeded out Ted, Ryan, Al, and others with the same name.
This initial search obviously misses tweets that use only their first names and those that were comments to other people's tweets where the Bundy name wouldn't appear at all.
That last group (where the subject is found in context rather than by name) would most likely the largest, so my data is not at all complete, but it's a reasonable start.
I found 246 records. Of these, 48% targeted left wing anger about the Bundy situation, usually on the subjects of race and education.

"Imagine the scene if this was a #BlackLivesMatter protest instead of a RWNJ White Boy "militia". #Oregon #BundyBoys

"Cliven Bundy's militia can threaten police with loaded guns, but Tamir Rice had to be killed for holding a toy?"
Neutral tweets (posting a mainstream press article or a factual update without obvious spin) represent another 39%. The bulk of these came from fake media accounts such as KANSASDAILYNEWS PHOENIXDAILYNEWS RICHMONDPOST SEATTLE_VOICE DAILYLOSANGELES DAILYSANFRAN DALLASTOPNEWS
I was quite surprised by the number of phony media accounts. Their only purpose seemed to amplify certain stories.
The last group of tweets (13%) targeted right wing anger. Most of these were "patriot" accounts. These tended to push anti-Obama themes and contempt for liberals.

"KING OBAMA, tyrant extraordinaire, Illegally Seizes Bundy Ranch Land Area as National Monument!"

"Where are the Feds? They were at Bundy ranch killing cows & shooting at Americans"
This last group rarely used hashtags (a couple of #pjnet and #Bundys but they did use a lot of exclamation points. #MAGA was not used at all.
Other Observations:

Language usage was sometime awkward but spelling was far better than what I normally see on Twitter. Lots of exclamation points were sacrificed!!!

The Russian IRA tweets weren't subtle but then again, neither was the discourse surrounding Bundy events.
The right wing number may seem low but most RW anti-government discussion occurs on Facebook and YouTube, not Twitter so if the IRA focused their efforts more on on those social media platforms, they were smart.
This is just an initial run. I'll be checking other subjects such as militias, gun culture, Antifa, popular conspiracy theories, and so on at a later date.
The account names associated with the tweets. All were suspended, but a couple of them have been used by new account holders probably not related to the Russian IRA.

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More from @jjmacnab

Oct 3, 2018
Ricin charges dropped against Georgia white supremacist mydaytondailynews.com/news/national/…
Some at the more extreme end of right wing extremism have been fixated with ricin for decades. There was a limited interest in pure nicotine and abrin but those seemed to have died down in popularity after darknet sites like Black Market Reloaded were targeted by the FBI.
Example of ricin plot from 1991: The Minnesota Patriots Council. trackingterrorism.org/group/patriots…
Read 8 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
Defense Secretary Mattis and the Navy’s top officer targeted in suspected ricin mail attack at Pentagon militarytimes.com/news/your-mili…
The Utah man arrested in this case has a fascination social media presence. militarytimes.com/news/your-mili…
I was going to take some time and flesh out a thread of my findings, but when I pulled everything together, I found no cohesive ideology to hand my hat on.
Read 9 tweets
Sep 27, 2018
The Oath Keepers have put out another call to arms to protect a NC town from looters. oathkeepers.org/2018/09/call-t…
These are all of the news stories available via Google News that mention Sneads Ferry in the last 24 hours.
.@Coastal_Review Is there some kind a looting crisis going on in Sneads Ferry that would warrant this call to arms (see above in thread.)
Read 7 tweets
Sep 25, 2018
Tucson Fake Child Sex Camp / Rape Tree Update:

Yesterday, the non-veteran founder of Veterans on Patrol, Lewis Arthur, was criminally indicted on felony trespass charges for breaking into and going through a private cattle ranch residence in June.
Lewis and his companions, two of whom were also indicted, videotaped themselves going through the residence and posted it online.

It was creepy.
In addition to Lewis, both Paul Flores (aka DarkSkyWatcher74) and Lucas Koloski were also indicted.
Read 12 tweets
Sep 23, 2018
Twitter. Twitter. Twitter.
You have to admire Twitter's algorithm. "Cats and guns" is a pretty good description of my social media presence and they've made recommendations that are safer (less extreme) than the stuff I tend to post.
Compare that to YouTube. The animal recs are good (baby goats jumping on trampolines, etc.) but my recommended video list is mostly raging, trash-talking, violent-extremist, I'm-going-to-torture-and-kill-everyone-I-hate, fake news, and Russian news outlets (RT, Ruptly).
Read 4 tweets
Sep 16, 2018
Hurricane Florence: Last night, the Oath Keepers told their supporters that the Cajun Navy has "formally" asked them to come to the Carolinas and provide them with armed security against looters.
This story has gotten these guys really frothed up about going after looters and violent criminals. abcnews.go.com/US/police-arre…
Read 9 tweets

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